Rubina had to wait over a decade to finally meet her family. She secretly married her uncle at a young age to a Kashmiri man, and the reunion with her mother and two brothers in Dilina village in Baramulla on Friday was emotional. The hero behind this encounter is Rubina’s brother-in-law, Irshad Ahmed Hajj.

With her uncle Sheikh Ajmali missing without trace and no information on Rubina’s in-laws to her parents, the family faced a long and difficult search to find her.

“When my brother married Rubina, her uncle asked us how old she was,” said Irshad. He told us in writing that she was 19 years old.

As a young bride living thousands of kilometers away from her home in West Bengal, Rubina has always longed for her family.

I felt it especially when my sisters called my mother. They were talking for hours and I could see the sadness in Rubina’s eyes. “It hit me hard. I thought about how badly she missed her mother.”

Two years after marrying his brother, Riaz Ahmed, Irshad embarked on a mission to locate Rubina’s parents in 2017, armed only with the name ‘Madhapur’.

I started searching online and trying to locate the place. “There were many places with that name in West Bengal alone,” said Ershad. “I called the local police and asked them to interrogate two local people who arranged our meeting with her uncle to find her address in West Bengal but that didn’t yield any results.”

He also connected with his friends on social media in West Bengal. The journey was fraught with challenges, including the internet being cut off during the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and the ongoing pandemic. Ershad’s resolve, however, did not waver.

His persistence paid off when he sought help from the National Women’s Commission, which helped locate the Rubina family through a ham radio.

Ambaresh Nag Biswas, Secretary, Radio HAM, West Bengal Radio Club and President of the Indian Academy of Communication and Disaster Management said, “I got a call from an official of Baruipur Women’s Police Station that a 12-year-old girl from Sundarban, got married in Baramulla district of Union territory. Indian Jammu and Kashmir, and her uncle married her without her parents’ knowledge. She only remembers her parents’ name and her house where she resides in Sundarban. Her brother-in-law tried every possible way, trying to reach her home, but he failed.”

A senior Baruipur district police official said that Rubina had forgotten everything from her language, home and eating habits, but she remembered her mother. Although it remembered two names – Joy Nagar and Sundarban – it was significant in itself for linking the names to the area of ​​South 24 Parganas, he said. “We contacted HAM Radio and with her, we interviewed her and took the appropriate input from her, we determined the location. Her parents identified her as their daughter,” the official said.

With the help of local interpreters and her brother-in-law, the police located Rubina’s home in the Koltali block in Baruipur Subdivision of South 24 Parganas District.

And when the last minute came to meet her family, Rubina hugged her mother tightly as she showered her with kisses.

“I cannot describe in words how they felt when they met each other,” said Rubina’s husband, Riaz Ahmed Haj. “They hugged each other for a long time without saying a word. It was very emotional.”

Rubina’s reunion extends beyond her immediate family. Her aunt, who was staying just 50 kilometers away from Delina, joined in the joyous celebration. She, too, was unaware of Rubina’s whereabouts all these years.

“We are very happy that after so many years, a girl finally met her family and this reunion took place over the radio. We work in disaster management and this is a community radio station. This is a success for humanity,” added Biswas.

Amina Shaikh, Rubina’s sister-in-law, said, “It is a wonderful feeling and the idea of ​​meeting your daughter after 12 years is amazing. We are very happy now and they are also in a very happy phase.”


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